For all of you out there that have struggled to get Cortana and the Start Menu searching to work after installing Windows 10 Anniversary Edition update, there is hope!

My environment

  • Mac OS – Sierra 10.12.2
  • Parallels 12.1.12
  • Windows 10 Pro x64 – 10.0.14393 N/A Build 14393
  • Hotfixes:-
    • KB3176935
    • KB3176936
    • KB3176937
    • KB3199209
    • KB3199986
    • KB3214628
    • KB3213986

The solution

This may sound strange, and I do not claim to know what the root cause is, but this is a sure-fire fix that I have proven to work on multiple machines.

Simply create two dummy User Accounts, and log into each of them. Yes, you heard/read correctly, two accounts, no less. You must log into each one to establish their profiles. Once you create and log into each one, you can log out and back into your main account, and hey presto! Cortana and your Start Menu search will be full functional again. I know – it’s weird – but it works!

You can safely remove the two dummy accounts and their home directories.

Post Mortem

I am sure someone out there can explain the root cause, and why it takes no less than two dummy accounts to resolve the issue. Honestly, you would think that one dummy account might reset a pointer/setting/registry entry/file/????? somewhere and that would be enough. I don’t know, and frankly, I am not sure I have the time or energy to work out why.

Hope that helps someone!